7 Types of Law Firm Content the Bar May Want You to Avoid
2023 is here and by now most firms in competitive markets have hundreds of pages on their websites targeting everything from auto accidents to zoo injuries. That said, plenty of law firms are just now starting to build their sites out, and some firms, even if they’ve been producing content for 20 years now, are making some mistakes.
Here are some types of content you should avoid.
The American Bar Association and your State Bar have rules in place strictly prohibiting certain types of language.
Here are a few things attorneys can not say on their website:
- False claims. ABA Rule 7.1 states that lawyers shall not make false or misleading claims. A misleading claim could be a statement that could create an unrealistic expectation about results an attorney could achieve, or a statement which compares their services with a competitor’s services.
- No soliciting. Some law firms write about accidents just after they occur. That might be ok, but naming names is tacky and likely violates ABA Rule 7.3, which states attorneys should not be communicating to people who they know need legal services.
- You’re not the best. Ok, well maybe you are the best. Regardless, you can’t claim to be the best, the top attorney or #1. Keep it out of your website copy.
- Are you a specialist? A lot of attorney’s websites state that they “specialize in truck accidents”. It’s probably not true. It’s entirely possible to specialize in something, however, unless you truly specialize in that specific thing and have been certified as a specialist, this language should not be used on your website.
Most law firms add images to their articles and other web pages.
Here are some additional pitfalls to avoid:
- Actors and models. The rules vary from state to state. Always check with your state bar if you plan on using an actor or a model as either an attorney or a client. Some attorneys create videos with dramatizations or recreations of events. Those videos may need a prominent disclaimer which states the video is a reenactment.
- Watch out for stock photos. There are a lot of plagiarized photos available on attribution free sites. Sometimes attorneys use stock photos of lawyers for their websites. In some states, this could be considered misrepresentation.
- Video concerns. Your state Bar can tell you if they govern animated videos. They’re not allowed in some states. If you do decide to create videos, be sure you’re not violating any of the aforementioned rules.
Be sure that your law firm’s website has a disclaimer which lets visitors know that your content is not providing legal advice. Depending on which state you’re in, you may need additional disclaimers as well.
Avoiding these content mistakes will help you avoid problems with the Bar. To make sure the rest of your website is in order refer to this page about law firm website compliance and ABA rules. Remember, you are responsible for the content on your website. If there’s ever a problem, the Bar is going to come down on you, not your marketing team, SEO agency or paralegal.
Now that you’re ready to start typing, be sure to visit the Legal Examiner guide to Content Marketing for Lawyers and our page on content creation strategies.